"Rio 2"
"Rio 2" is set to hit theaters in the United States April 11. Facebook/"Rio"

In 2011, Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox Animation and Carlos Saldanha brought the world to the director’s hometown, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, and we all fell in love with two critically endangered blue macaws named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg of “The Social Network” fame) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway). Blu, a domesticated bird from Minnesota, falls for Jewel and the unlikely pair embark on an adventure together in the city. The 3D computer-animated musical-comedy had themes of environmentalism infused with Brazilian culture as the audience got a taste of Carnival. Now, just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, Saldanha is taking us back to Brazil for “Rio 2.” Latin Times got a sneak peek of some exclusive footage of the sequel presented by Saldanha in New York City.

As the show’s motto goes: “It’s on in the Amazon!” In the sequel, Saldanha said all the same team is back but “Rio 2” will be “bigger and wilder.” Old favorites returning include Eisenberg, Hathaway, will.i.am as Pedro, Jamie Foxx as Nico and Jermaine Clement, who plays Saldanha’s favorite character, the evil Nigel. Big names were added to the cast of voices for “Rio 2” including Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno, Kristen Chenowith and Bruno Mars who will play Blu’s rival, Roberto. In “Rio 2,” we’ll be escaping the grips of the city after celebrating the New Year in Rio de Janeiro and headed into the Amazon with Blu, Jewel and their now three kids. The jungle adventure this time around will be all about the family journey, said Saldanha.

Carlos Saldanha
Carlos Saldanha is the director of "Rio" and "Rio 2." He grew up in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Courtesy Photo

Brazilian culture and music will again play a major role in this movie, which Saldanha is clearly passionate about due to his roots. His characters break into Portuguese every so often, there’s even a fierce soccer game between two species of birds in the Amazon and the musical soundtrack is expanded for “Rio 2.” It will feature original music by Janelle Monáe, Wondaland and -- most exciting of all -- Brazilian body percussionists, the Barbatuques. The Barbatuques’ music is used in a special family reunion scene featuring a sea of hundreds of blue macaws coordinated in a beautiful dance. Saldanha said he is “in awe” of the musicians he worked with on the film including Brazilian musician Sergio Mendes and credits them for “keeping it world” and preserving the culture behind the movie.

The animation in this film looks flawless, light and fun. Though, it must have been difficult to create. Like the first film, this movie has fresh, beat-driven humor that will make both kids and adults laugh out loud at the hilarity of the evil Nigel and the missteps of Blu with his newly found father-in-law as he tries to proves himself against Bruno Mars' seemingly perfect character, Roberto. One thing is for sure: “Fun” and “flavor” are key for Carlos Saldanha, and we’re excited to see his new sequel. “Rio 2” is set to be released nationwide April 11. Watch trailers for “Rio 2” below!

Rio 2 | Official Trailer | 20th Century FOX

Rio 2 | Official Trailer 2 | 20th Century FOX

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